The arrest and subsequent deportation of six Turkish nationals legally residing in Kosovo raise questions about the respect of the due process of law,” said Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the European Commission told Kosovo-based Gazeta Express on Tuesday.
“The rule of law is a fundamental principal of the European Union. In line with its determination to build a free and democratic future, and as also set out in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union, all actions of the local Kosovo institutions are bound by the full respect for the rule of law and promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Arbitrary procedures concerning arrest, detention or exile go against these principles,” Kocijancic said in a written statement to Gazeta Express.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) on Thursday abducted six Turkish nationals, one doctor and five educators, working for a group of schools affiliated with the Gülen movement and removed them to Turkey the same day.
US-based monitoring group Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier said the arrest of Turkish nationals in Kosovo showed a callous disregard for human rights and rule of law. “In addition to the questionable arrests, the men were sent to a country where they face a serious risk of torture. The Kosovo President, Prime Minister and speaker of parliament, who claim no knowledge of the operation, should demand a thorough investigation and explain how this travesty took place,” HRW said.
Turkish government accuses Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 while the latter denies involvement.
More than 150,000 people have been detained and 60,000 were remanded in prison over Gulen links in Turkey since the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, Erdogan called on foreign governments to punish Gulenists in their own countries.
So far, a number of countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request despite the fact that some of those victims already had refugee status with the United Nations.